The Right Man: Remembering Gordon Cooper's Day-Long Mercury Mission, 55 Years On

The Atlas booster rises from Pad 14 on 15 May 1963, carrying Gordon Cooper on his day-long Faith 7 mission. His was the longest single U.S. piloted spaceflight at that time. Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 14 May 1963, a hotshot pilot lay on his back in a tiny capsule, atop a converted ballistic […]

‘Beautiful View’: Remembering America’s First Manned Mission to Space, 57 Years Ago This Week

On the deck of the U.S.S. Lake Champlain, Alan Shepard checks out the interior of Freedom 7 – the vehicle which had protected him from the rigours of a launch and high-G acceleration, had kept him alive and well in the most hostile environment ever encountered by humanity and sustained him throughout a perilous […]

'Just a Normal Day': Remembering John Glenn's Mercury Flight (Part 2)

Bobbing gently in the waves after a highly successful – though nail-bitingly harrowing – mission, Friendship 7 is readied for winching out of the water. Photo Credit: NASA

On the afternoon of 20 February 1962, millions of Americans listened and watched, transfixed as their countryman, John Glenn, plummeted back to Earth after completing three […]

'Zero-G and I Feel Fine': Remembering John Glenn's Mercury Flight (Part 1)

Blurred and somewhat lacking in detail, this image of John Glenn in orbit aboard Friendship 7 represents one of the United States’ greatest advances in space technology in the 20th century: the effort to achieve piloted orbital flight. Photo Credit: NASA

Two months after his death, aged 95, Monday will be a somber date […]

'An Even Better Friend': 45 Years Since the Apollo 17 Decision (Part 2)

Forty-five years ago, this month, the names of the final crew of lunar explorers of the 20th century were announced. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, this month, NASA made the decision which would close out human exploration of the lunar surface for more than two generations: the selection of the final crew to […]

'The First Thing I Had Ever Lost': 55 Years Since Gus Grissom's Flight in the Liberty Bell (Part 2)

This was one of the final views of Liberty Bell 7 on 21 July 1961, before it was lost beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Not until 1999, more than three decades after Grissom’s death, would the sunken capsule be returned to the surface. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Fifty-five years ago, […]

'Isn't That Good Enough?' 55 Years Since Gus Grissom's Flight in the Liberty Bell (Part 1)

The white crack on the side of his capsule, paralleling that on the real Liberty Bell, is visible to the left of this pre-launch image of Virgil “Gus” Grissom. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Had Virgil “Gus” Grissom lived longer, wrote Deke Slayton in his autobiography, Deke, he would have been the first […]

'Familiar to Millions of Americans': 45 Years Since Apollo 14 (Part 4)

Bathed by the intense lunar sunlight, Antares sits on the undulating plain of Fra Mauro in February 1971. Photo Credit: NASA

For those of us born within the last four decades, the notion of looking up at the Moon and knowing that fellow human beings are living and working there has been as alien […]

'It's Been A Long Way': 45 Years Since Apollo 14 (Part 3)

The desolation of the Fra Mauro site and the tracks of the Mobile Equipment Transporter (MET), as captured by one of the Apollo 14 astronauts. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, last week, the sixth team of Apollo lunar explorers—and only the third to accomplish a landing on the Moon’s dusty surface—headed back to […]

'Fat as a Goose': 45 Years Since Apollo 14 (Part 2)

Al Shepard (foreground) and Ed Mitchell, pictured in the Lunar Module (LM) simulator during training. Photo Credit: NASA

A few hours after leaving Earth on 31 January 1971—45 years ago, this week—Apollo 14 seemed a charmed mission-in-progress, providing a stark contrast with its immediate predecessor, the ill-fated Apollo 13. As outlined in yesterday’s AmericaSpace […]